Brokers and banks have always depended on each other to drive revenue, but their legacy communication channels haven’t served either side of the equation very well. Their interactions have been painfully manual and time-consuming. Brokers find themselves focusing as much on bank communications as on identifying and serving customers. Banks, in turn, struggle to expand their customer footprint through brokers.
Brokers are a crucial stakeholder in the loan origination journey for both regulated and unregulated lending products, including bridging loans, term loans, development loans, overdrafts, and mortgages. Streamlining the broker-bank relationship should be a top priority to keep banks’ loan processes moving forward efficiently and profitably. Introducing a digital broker portal to the lending journey can ensure an automated, end-to-end process that improves straight-through processing and benefits both bank and broker. loan processes moving forward efficiently and profitably. Introducing a digital broker portal to the lending journey can ensure an automated, end-to-end process that improves straight-through processing and benefits both bank and broker.
Digital Broker Portals: The Broker Perspective
Currently, most brokers lack a single view of customers and are dependent on a bank’s relationship managers for information on loan-related matters, including loan status. Documents are shared manually via email (or even physical submission to the bank), leading to a slow, low-yield process that ultimately results in fewer referrals. Brokers are rarely able to upload documents directly to a bank.
Digital broker portals, on the other hand, provide brokers with a real-time view of loan status. They streamline document sharing, deliver automated notifications, and provide dashboards to track operational performance. Brokers also benefit from self-service, auto-generated forms such as facility letters and credit-backed head of terms.
One potential downside for brokers: Yes, each bank will have its own digital broker portal, and processes will not be standardized across all broker portals. However, brokers will find that once they learn to navigate these new systems, they will consistently experience improved broker income.
Digital Broker Portals: The Bank Perspective
As much as brokers might benefit from digital broker portals, they are not footing the implementation bill. So what’s in it for banks themselves?
The same document sharing and notification capabilities that drive efficiencies for brokers will also drive efficiencies for banks. Instead of keying in application details, bank loan officers will simply make use of the customer information provided by brokers. Banks will be able to build automated workflows for approvals and four-eye checks across different parties and stakeholders in a loan journey, from initial proposal through booking and drawdown. Leveraging profiles for each type of partner (broker, solicitor, etc.), they will be able to customize permission sets for each partner type.
Digital broker portals provide banks with intuitive dashboards that can be configured to suit business needs without requiring IT involvement and give banks a clear audit trail for each task in the loan origination journey, improving governance and oversight.
As digital broker portals enable digital connections to external parties, brokers will essentially be brought “inside the bank” as full partners, which will in turn help lending institutions improve their internal orchestration.
At first, digital broker portals need not be mandatory. Banks can continue to operate their legacy processes in parallel, but will find that nearly all brokers with some level of technological savvy quickly gravitate to the digital portal.
Yes, some large banks may initially hesitate to enable digital broker portals simply due to the complexity of supporting broker relationships across many different market segments. Rather than interpreting this complexity as a barrier, they should view it as an opportunity to simultaneously improve efficiency, standardize as many processes as possible, and drive new revenue across numerous product streams.
The Digital Broker Portal Advantage
Most origination platforms have broker portals; the issue is that many banks have not yet adopted them because they are viewed as concessions to brokers rather than as value drivers for banks themselves.
In fact, when banks create digital broker portals with standard applications for all brokers, the results are as beneficial to the bank as they are to the brokers. Brokers can spend more time with customers and increase their yields, which will be passed onto banks in the form of higher loan volumes. At the same time, both brokers and banks can significantly increase process efficiency.
At a time of immense technology shifts in the financial sector, digital broker portals provide a particularly clear path to technology-driven ROI.